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Full text of "NightRider"

440

it full. The hens were moving about between th,e house and
the bluffside, pecking fastidiously, now and then, at the wet
grass.

Just before they reached the porch, Mr. Munn stopped,
"Bill Christian is dead," he said quietly. "He died four
days ago."

" Last night," Willie Proudfit exclaimed, " last night she
said he was gitten on I"

" He is dead. That was one of the things she came to tell
me."

" Dead," Willie Proudfit repeated, as though bringing the
thought to slow realization, "and me sayen what I said."
Then he added: " Hit makes a man feel lak dirt, inside. Sayen
them things. Thinken 'em."

" It's all right," Mr. Munn said.

They went on, into the kitchen.

At breakfast nobody talked much. Adelle Proudfit talked
some, and Lucille Christian, but the others were silent. To-
ward the end of the meal they, too, became silent. Lucille
Christian's face was very pale, and the skin seemed to be
drawn painfully tight across the bone.

After breakfast Sylvestus, who was to take Lucille Christian
to the railroad at Ashby's Crossing, went to the stable to
harness the horse. The others remained seated at the table
for a little while longer, and then went out to the front porch
to wait for him. He drove the buggy to the gate, got out and
hitched the horse, and approached the porch, where the
others were standing in silence. When he came up, Lucille
Christian, looking over the fields that lay along the creek,
said almost casually, "Well, we did get a little rain, after
all."

Standing on the ground just at the edge of the porch before
her, Sylvestus abruptly struck the toe of his shoe into the
earth, and stared down at the scar he had made. " Hit ain't
nuthen," he returned. " Hit ain't more'n laid the dust. Hit
ain't cleaned air leaf in the field."

" I thought it might help a little," she replied.